Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness is the latest stand-alone expansion pack for the Might & Magic franchise. Might & Magic: Heroes is an enriched turn-based strategy game that revolutionized the strategy genre. The series has been running for many years with countless sequels and expansions.
Shades of Darkness is by far the darkest, most engrossing story ever produced for the series. The game takes place after the dark elf queen, Tuidhana, perishes, forcing the dark elves into smaller clans. This gives the Faceless new opportunities to exploit the dark elves; this is where your journey begins.
If you’re a fan of the Might & Magic or Might & Magic Heroes VI series, you will feel right at home with the Shades of Darkness expansion. What makes this release so unique is that it’s a standalone expansion. Gamers don’t have to purchase previous additions of the game to play it. While SoD is designed like previous expansions, it introduces a brand-new hero with his own story.
Shades of Darkness’ gameplay focuses on building armies and conquering locations as you move across the world map. The player must also gather resources such as wood, ore, blood crystal and gold (which is currency). Capturing structures such as armor smiths and weapon smiths will add to your overall resources (i.e wood, ore, etc.). The combat system is also turn-based like previous installments. Like a game of chess, the player can strategize their next move. Basically, you can take as much time as needed during the combat sequences.
A quest log keeps track of your tasks and different quests that need to be completed. Aside from the main story, there’s plenty of additional quests that can be completed, so there is plenty of content available to keep gamers busy.
Shades of Darkness’ gameplay is just as complex as previous expansions. However, the expansion does have a plethora of settings that can change the in-game difficulty. If you happen to get stuck while playing, there is a brief campaign tutorial that explains how to play.
When you are finished with the single-player experience, you can play online and choose between the various multiplayer modes available. These modes range from simple ‘quick battles’ to enormous ‘extensive campaigns’. Even when you are playing the single-player campaign, you’re still online. As you play through the single-player experience, you will find conflux orbs that can be used to communicate with other players.
These orbs allow you to leave messages for other players to read. Theses messages can be something silly or include hints to help other players. Anyone who reaches the same point in-game can read these messages left behind by other players as well as post their own. This offers a form of communication without an actual chat system. It also prevents some players from harassing, irritating and even spamming others.
The Shades of Darkness expansion pack is gorgeous. It offers lush environments that are absolutely stunning. Might & Magic VI has always been a beautiful series, but this release adds a richness that has never been seen from an expansion pack before. Even the conversations you have with other characters contain high-quality voice acting.
The Might & Magic Heroes VI series is the Cadillac of strategy RPGs. It offers far more content than you would expect from a role-playing game. Shades of Darkness is a good example of how truly exceptional the Might & Magic Heroes series has become over the years. Every expansion pack up to this point feels and plays like a completely different game.
Shades of Darkness is ideal for anyone looking to play Might & Magic VI: Heroes for the first time. Even though M&M: Heroes SoD is available via Steam, Ubisoft’s Uplay client is still required to play online, including Shades of Darkness.
The Uplay client makes it easy to operate the game. If you are running the game through Steam, the Uplay client will immediately launch after Might & Magic Heroes VI is started from your Steam library. Once the Uplay client is running , it’s very simple to create a Uplay account and be up and running within minutes.
Uplay has its own system similar to Steam (achievements includes). But unlike Steam, Uplay allows you to earn points based on how many goals you have achieved while playing the game. These points can then be used to purchase special weapons, portraits, pets and other in-game items. You can also purchase unrelated memorabilia such as wallpaper.
Shades of Darkness is not your typical expansion. Not only does it add a new chapter to the legendary world of Might & Magic VI, but it’s an entirely new game with enhanced features. In fact, it’s the best expansion released so far, bar none.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: PC (Available on Steam)
OS: Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows® 7 (only)
Processor: 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 or 2.6 GHz AMD Athlon X2 5000+(2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 or 2.8 GHz AMD Athlon II X2 240 or higher recommended)
Memory: 1 GB Windows XP or 1.5 GB Windows Vista/7 (2 GB recommended)
Graphics: 512 MB DirectX 9.0c-compatible or higher recommended (see supported list)*
Hard Drive: 11 GB
Sound: DirectX 9.0-compliant sound card *Supported Video Cards at Time of Release: NVIDIA GeForce 8600/9/200/400/500 series ATI Radeon HD 2600/3000/4000/5000/6000 series Laptop versions of these cards may work, but are not supported.
ESRB: T (Teen)
|The graphics are what you would expect from the Might & Magic series - colorful and absolutely beautiful.|
|Crisp sound effects and fantastic voice acting.|
|The combat system is one of Shade of Darkness’ best features.|
|Shades of Darkness succeeds as a standalone expansion. The production quality is mind-blowing and the amount of content available supersedes anything currently available for the PC.|